History of the City of Marietta Pension

The City of Marietta's pension originated February 12, 1955, with the council passing Ordinance 1307 that established employee benefits under Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance (Social Security) through the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia.

A charter amendment approved March 13, 1957, established a pension fund for policemen and firemen.

A council motion from August 13, 1966, created two pension plans with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company retroactive to January 1, 1966. Plan I was for general employees and policewomen. This plan required five years of service and age 30 for vesting, with a normal retirement date of age 65 (early retirement offered at age 55 at a reduced benefit). Plan II was for policemen and firemen. This plan also required five years of service and age 30 for vesting, but had a normal retirement date of age 55 and 20 years of service.

On September 20, 1973, the council passed Ordinance 3042 that established the City’s retirement plan with the Joint Municipal Employees Retirement System (JMERS) [now known as the Georgia Municipal Employee Benefit System (GMEBS)] effective November 1, 1973. This plan completely replaced the ones with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. The City established a Pension Committee that had the primary responsibility of coordinating benefits with the JMERS Board of Trustees. The plan required 10 years of credited service for vesting, with a normal retirement age of 55 for permanent policemen and firemen (age 45 for early retirement at a reduced benefit) and 65 for all other full-time employees (age 55 for early retirement at a reduced benefit). 
 
On December 10, 1980, the council passed Resolution 15-353A which authorized the Mayor to terminate the trust agreement and pension contract with JMERS and execute a new contract with Aetna Life and Casualty.

On December 30, 1980, the council passed four major pension ordinances:
  • Ordinance 3738 redesignated the Pension Committee as the Pension Board, adding two general employees to the makeup to allow for nine members.
  • Ordinance 3739 established the General Pension with Aetna Life and Casualty effective November 1, 1973, but restructured as of July 1, 1980 (superseded by Ordinance 3752 on February 11, 1981).
  • Ordinance 3740 withdrew the City from JMERS (superseded by Ordinance 3753 on February 11, 1981).
  • Ordinance 3741 withdrew the City from Social Security as initially established with Ordinance 1307 and established a Supplemental Pension with Aetna Life and Casualty effective January 1, 1981 (On June 30, 2000, the council passed Ordinance 6142 that discharged the Pension Board of its trustee and record keeper duties related to the Supplemental Pension and, on July 1, 2000, turned those duties over to a professional pension management company that is supervised and directed by the Board).

After the passage of these ordinances, the newly designated Pension Board assumed the function of trustees of the pension, retirement, and disability plans. The plan required 10 years of service for vesting, with a normal retirement age of 55 for policemen and firemen and 65 for general employees.
 
On February 8, 1984, the council created a new retirement plan via passage of Ordinance 4022 that was effective January 1, 1984. The plan required five years of service for vesting, with a normal retirement age of 55 for policemen and firemen (age 45 for early retirement at a reduced benefit) and 65 for general employees (age 55 for early retirement at a reduced benefit). This was the last retirement plan that provided for an annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for sworn public safety personnel.

On February 11, 1987, the council created the current Consolidated Retirement Plan for the Employees of the City of Marietta, Georgia, via passage of Ordinance 4532 that simplified provisions for plan participants and removed distinctions between public safety employees and general employees. The Consolidated Retirement Plan currently covers any employee from that time period who elected to transfer via a special election period as well as all new hires on or after March 1, 1987, the effective date of the plan. A second special election period was allowed in 1999 after the council passed Ordinance 5921 on November 11, 1998, and the council closed the general employee portion of the 4022 plan via passage of Ordinance 6064 on November 10, 1999. The plan originally required five years of credited service to vest (later changed to seven years for those hired between March 18, 2008, and December 31, 2008, and 10 years for those hired on or after January 1, 2009), with a normal retirement age of 65 (age 55 for early retirement at a reduced benefit). The plan also offers an unreduced early retirement based on a formula of age plus years of service totaling 80 (referred to as "80-point pension," and originally passed as 85-point pension), and participants must be at least age 55 if hired on or after March 18, 2008.

Since January 1, 2009, participants have contributed 4% of their gross wages to the plan. The formula for benefit payments is 2.1% (2.0% if terminated prior to December 12, 2001) of the participant's final average earnings over a five-year period (three years if hired prior to January 1, 2009) multiplied by years and full months of credited service.

The City of Marietta is proud to offer this defined benefit pension plan as a cornerstone of its total benefits package.